IT WAS a statistic that halted the planning inquiry at Thurrock Council’s civic offices into the building of 350 homes in Butts Lane, Stanford-le-Hope in its tracks.
But it is one that confirmed many people’s fears about the recession.
Sometimes, you drive around the borough and see a number of developments. You go to planning meetings where there is a plethora of applications for building.
But at the back of your mind, you do think: “Is anyone actually building anything here?”
And when you ask people to estimate how many houses were built in Thurrock between 2009-10 (financial year) estimates from builders to members of the public has been between 1,000 and 3,000.
However, at the four day inquiry, the representative of Barratts Housing, asked Thurrock Council’s senior planning officer, Paul Clarke to read out the figures for completed homes in the borough.
Mr Clarke said: “In 2009-2010, there were 88 homes completed. In 2010-2011, there were 290.”
Mr Clarke could not give a figure for how many had been completed since April of this year.
Mr Lowe asked Mr Clarke if he felt that there was an urgent need for housebuilding such as the Butts Lane development in the borough as the shortfall was now approaching the 4,000 mark.
He said: “Housing development in Thurrock is in freefall. You had a core strategy that was rejected as not fit for purpose and you sit here objecting to a development that can provide 350 new homes for the borough.”
The results of the inquiry are expected later next month.